Ever wonder why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May? Quick history lesson tells us that this is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, but in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. It’s all about the food…lots of delicious Mexican food. However, many of the traditional dishes have a hefty calorie count so, what can you do?
For us gringos, it’s all about the food…lots of delicious Mexican food. However, many of the traditional dishes have a hefty calorie count so, we found a solution. Check out these yummy recipes.
Moroccan Spiced Fish Tacos
Creamy hummus and tender salmon seared in harissa makes this taco an unforgettable explosion of fusion flavors in every bite.
Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes
4 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
2 cucumbers, seeds removed, diced
1 white onion, diced
4 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves removed, minced
3 medium lemons, juiced, saving one for the blended dressing
3 sprigs flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 pounds wild king salmon fillet, skinned and deboned
1/2 cup harissa spice (available at most specialty grocery stores)
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons of olive oil for searing
8 ounce container of plain hummus
1 small head of red cabbage, shredded
Garnish ideas: Greek yogurt
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, oregano and the juice of two lemons. In a blender or bowl, blend or whisk the juice of one lemon, parsley, garlic, wine vinegar, olive oil and salt; feel free to add more olive oil or vinegar to your preferred taste and consistency. Add the dressing to the salad, sprinkle with feta cheese, toss and set aside.
Line two cookie sheets with foil (for easy clean-up). Generously salt the salmon and cut it into evenly sized pieces that are easy to flip with a spatula. Place the cut fillets on to one of the cookie sheets. Coat fillets with harissa spice on both sides. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan and sear each piece for 5-7 minutes on each side until blackened, placing the finished pieces on to the other cookie sheet. The inside should be light pink, but not raw in the middle. If the inside of the salmon is too raw, you can finish them off in the oven for a few minutes at 350 degrees. Let salmon rest a few minutes before lightly breaking it apart with a fork.
Heat tortillas on an open gas flame, flipping once or twice to warm and soften, working towards slight burn marks on both sides; or warm tortillas on both sides on a hot skillet. Wrap tortillas in a kitchen cloth to keep from getting cold. To build your taco, place a tortilla on a flat work surface and smear with hummus; top with salmon chunks, shredded cabbage, Mediterranean salad and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Fold in half and love!
Number of Servings: 6
Calories: 300 | Total fat: 14 grams | Total carbohydrates: 22 grams | Dietary fiber: 3 grams | Protein: 22 grams
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Turkish Chicken Tacos
The flavor of these tacos is inspired by the chicken kabobs popular in Lebanon and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean. The yogurt sauce is based on the Turkish version of tzatziki — in Turkey, it’s called cacik (ja-jeek), and it uses refreshing mint. Using bone-in, skin-on chicken yields more flavor than skinless, boneless poultry. If you’d like to take a shortcut, skip cooking the chicken yourself and pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery. You’ll still get plenty of flavor to enjoy with the yogurt sauce and toppings.
Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes
3 garlic cloves, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
1 English cucumber, divided
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1 radish, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
Chop 2 garlic cloves, and then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt over the garlic. Using the flat side of your knife with the sharp edge facing away from you, rub the garlic and salt into a paste. Transfer garlic mixture to a small bowl. Zest 1 lemon. Stir zest, smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon oil into garlic paste.
Loosen chicken skin but don’t remove it. Rub pepper mixture beneath skin. Place chicken in a plastic zip-top bag, and add remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Seal bag and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Transfer chicken to a skillet, skin-side up. Roast for 32-37 minutes or until internal temperature registers 160°F. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
While chicken roasts and rests, prepare toppings. Grate 1/4 cup cucumber. Finely chop remaining garlic clove. In a small bowl, combine grated cucumber, chopped garlic, yogurt, salt, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and mint.
Thinly slice half the remaining English cucumber. Cut the remaining lemon into 6 wedges. Warm tortillas on a hot griddle or directly over a gas flame, flipping as they begin to bubble. Keep warm.
To serve, cut each chicken breast into 1/ 2 inch slices, discarding skin and bones. Divide chicken evenly among 6 tortillas. Top evenly with yogurt-mint sauce, cabbage, cucumber slices, radish slices and cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges.
Number of Servings: Makes 6 tacos
Calories: 370 | Total fat: 13 grams | Total carbohydrates: 31 grams | Dietary fiber: 3 grams | Protein: 33 grams